Is my T1 slow?
June 26, 2007 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I get 3800kbps down on my cable connection at home, but I'm only getting 1300kbps down on my office full T1. How is this possible? Should my office get a better pipe?
posted by plexi to Technology (8 answers total)
Are you the only user of your office T1?

Is the (lack of) speed at your office causing any kind of productivity problem? That seems plenty fast for a normal work environment.
posted by mzurer at 8:22 AM on June 26, 2007

A T1's main advantage over cable is parity. Your upload speed will kick your home connection's ass.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:22 AM on June 26, 2007

That sounds like the right speed for a T1 once packet overheads are taken away. A T1 is only 1.5Mbps-ish y'know :)
posted by wackybrit at 8:24 AM on June 26, 2007

Not necessarily. With a T1 you are getting a dedicated line and will always get 1.344, with cable this is incredibly variable as anyone who has tried to download a large file on a Sunday might tell you. You'll also have all kinds of benefits when it comes to a VPN setup and other things where absolute download speed is not the only quantitative measurement.

If you're a small office and just run a mail server without much need for greater sophistication, a business cable line does make sense.

You are right though, dedicated fiber optic lines are very much behind non-commercial alternatives like home cable. I have a feeling this will change in a few years.
posted by geoff. at 8:25 AM on June 26, 2007

The difference is that although you might get 3800kbps downstream at home sometimes, it's not guaranteed -- in fact I suspect that if you saturate the connection for even a few days, you'll probably get throttled. Plus, the upstream bandwidth is limited, so you can't run a server. And there are probably ports blocked. And there are no uptime guarantees.

The office T1, while it may seem on the surface to be much more limited, is a "real" Internet connection. It has an equal amount (usually) of upstream and downstream bandwidth, and it has that bandwidth all the time. Unless you buy it from a remarkably crappy provider, you can start pulling down 1.344Mb/s from now until Doomsday, and they're not going to send you nasty letters or throttle your connection back to 1998-era speeds. They're not going to keep you from running whatever kind of server you want, either. And they probably have some sort of uptime guarantees on the line, so that you can depend on it being there.

They're apples and oranges; two completely different grades of service. To make an analogy, it's like asking why the blender behind the counter at Dairy Queen probably costs 10x as much as your blender at home, and only has two speeds: it's because if you tried to use your blender at home a few hundred times a day, it wouldn't last long. Similarly, running a business on a residential-grade Internet connection (if your Internet use is important to your business, and not just ancillary), is probably a mistake.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:45 AM on June 26, 2007

Just to correct -- a T1 speed is 1.544 Mbps download, and the same for upload. And as others have said, most cable connections can be faster than this on the download side -- the norm that cable companies push these days seems to be around 3 Mbps or so -- but (a) you share most of that bandwidth with all the other users on your trunk of cable, (b) you don't have any service guarantee for that bandwidth, for the most part, and (c) your upload speed will be far slower, in the 256-512 Kbps range, probably.
posted by delfuego at 10:57 AM on June 26, 2007

Not quite sure what you're others have said, the max speed for T1 is 1.544 Mbps, and that's for up AND down. I'd guess your cable connection at home probably maxes out around 300-400K upstream.

As for "Should my office get a better pipe?"...that's really hard to answer. Do you guys *need* a faster pipe? It really depends on what you do at work. Depending on your location, there might not be anything remotely "cheap" for a faster connection. Be prepared to pay through the nose for a faster "business" connection.
posted by edjusted at 11:15 AM on June 26, 2007

Everyone needs a bigger pipe.

OC3 or better. My last install was an OC-12 and my friend in Oregon is sitting on an OC-48 right now.

Then there was the guy with the direct trunk...
posted by daq at 3:31 PM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

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